UNESCO Residencies (February 2021)

We are delighted to welcome five writers from other UNESCO cities of literature for a month-long virtual residency in February 2021.

Liz Breslin will join us from Dunedin. She writes poems, plays and stories. In 2020 she co-created Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature’s Possibilities Project and was the winner of the Kathleen Grattan Award for a Sequence of Poems. She’s also been part of a spoke’n’word tour of the Otago Central Rail Trail, which will be screened as rail:lines, a documentary film. Her second poem collection, In bed with the feminists, will be published by Dead Bird Books in 2021. www.lizbreslin.com

Lynn Buckle will join us from Dublin. Irish author, artist, and activist Lynn Buckle’s literary novel, The Groundsmen, was published in 2018 by époque press. Nominated for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, it was listed as Easons Best of Irish Literature and featured in a year-long book tour of Ireland and the UK. Recent work examines gender, power, and place through the lens of fictional nature and climate writing, from her own disability perspective. Her short stories and protest poetry can be found in Infinite Possibilities, Brigid, Luisne an Chleite, époque ezine, and HCE Review Vol I, Issue II.

Vahni Capildeo will join us from Edinburgh. Their background in medieval studies, lexicography, translation theory and culture for development underpins their non-fiction and poetry. Capildeo is interested in collaborative and immersive experiments; Skin Can Hold (Carcanet, 2019) and Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020) offer participatory texts for readers to re-work. Capildeo’s work has been recognized with awards including the Forward Prize (Best Collection) and the Cholmondeley Award. Their ongoing research on silence, and their concern with the ecopoetics of place, are reflected in their eighth book, Like a Tree, Walking (Carcanet, 2021) and their seventh pamphlet, The Dusty Angel (Oystercatcher, 2021).

Valur Gunnarsson will join us from Reykjavik. Valur grew up on the Viking trail in Reykjavik, Oslo and Yorkshire. He is best known as a writer of creative historical fiction; his first novel was a Viking fantasy and his third an alternative history where the Germans invade Iceland in World War II. Meanwhile, his second novel was a piece of autofiction set in the aftermath of the economic collapse of 2008. His fourth book, expected in March 2021, is in the same vein, but this time set in the former Soviet Union. He also co-founded Grapevine magazine and has made three albums and a poetry book.

Marcin Wilk will join us from Krakow. He is a writer, journalist, and blogger. For many years he was the curator of the Przemysły Książki (Book Industries) at the International Literary Festival – Conrad Festival in Kraków (Poland), as well as the moderator of the Reading Discussion Clubs on classical literature in the same city. Author of the biographies of two famous Polish women: singer Anna Jantar (Tyle Słońca, 2015), and actress Irena Kwiatkowska (Żarty się skończyły, 2019), and a historical reportage Pokój z widokiem. Lato 1939 (A Room with a View. Summer 1939, 2019). He is an editor of Wyliczanka.eu – a portal about books and literature.

Thomas Heerma van Voss (October 2020)

Our first virtual writer in residence was Thomas Heerma van Voss, one of the writers featured in Verzet, the Strangers Press chapbook series of New Dutch Writing. Thomas Heerma van Voss has published four works of fiction, including the novel Stern in 2013, and the short story collection The Third Person in 2014.  His chapbook, Thank You For Being With Us, comprises two short stories feature compelling, well-wrought characters who draw the reader entertainingly into their simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking lives. The stories are translated by Moshe Gilula.

Paddy Richardson (September 2020)

In September, we welcomed Paddy Richardson as one of two virtual writers in residence at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, supported by University of East Anglia. Joining us from Dunedin, the New Zealand, Anita created new work and fostered connections between Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and her home city, also a UNESCO City of Literature. Paddy Richardson is the author of two collections of short stories and seven novels. Through the Lonesome Dark was shortlisted for the New Zealand Historical Novel Award and longlisted for The Dublin International Literature Award.

Anita Terpstra (September 2020)

In September, we welcomed Anita Terpstra as our virtual writer in residence at Noirwich Crime Writing Festival 2020, supported by University of East Anglia. Joining us from Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, Anita created new work and fostered connections between Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, and her home city, also a UNESCO City of Literature. Anita’s debut thriller Nachtvlucht (Night Flight) was nominated for the Shadow Prize and the Crimezone Thriller Award. Samen (Together) was nominated for the Golden Gallows. Her books have been translated in German and French.

Vahur Afanasjev (March 2020)

In March, we were thrilled to welcome the Estonian writer, poet and musician Vahur Afanasjev as part of our residency exchange with Tartu UNESCO City of Literature. Vahur is the author of the award-winning Serafima and Bogdan, a bloody, funny and surreal family saga about the Russian Old Believer minority in Estonia. In Norwich, Vahur completed his novel On the Brink of Bloom, which is set in the near future and deals with social anxiety about progress. He also collaborated with local musicians and poets at open mic events held at Gonzo’s Tea Room and with Café Writers.

Motoyuki and Hitomi Shibata (February 2020)

In February, Motoyuki and Hitomi Shibata spent two weeks in Norwich as part of Japan Now East. Motoyuki Shibata is a Japanese translator of contemporary of American fiction. He edits the English-language literary journal Monkey Business, which introduces contemporary Japanese authors to the English-speaking audience, and the tri-annual Japanese-language literary journal Monkey, in which he publishes new Japanese stories and poems as well as translations of those written in English.


Kim Heayon (November 2019)

Kim Heayeon was born in Seoul, Korea. She majored in German literature and after a long period of working for a publishing company,  she became fascinated with children’s books from England, especially the works of Roald Dahl and Philippa Pearce. In 2004, she won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in Korea with A Farewell Gift, and the Golden Goblin Award in 2009 with I’m a Cuckoo.

She has written approximately ten books for children and teenagers, including The Bakery of Coincidence.

Kang Young-sook (November 2019)

Kang Young-sook is a feminist South Korean author. She often writes about the female grotesque, delving into varying genres, such as urban noir, fantasy, and climate fiction. Since her debut in 1998, she has published a number of novels and short story collections, and has received many prestigious awards, such as the Hanguk Ilbo Literature Prize, Kim Yujeong Literary Award, and Lee Hyo-seok Literature Award, among others.

She participated in the International Writing Program’s fall residency at the University of Iowa in 2009, and was also a visiting writer-in-residence at UC Berkeley in 2014. She currently teaches creative writing at Ewha Womans University and Korea National University of Arts.

Katie Hale (November 2019)

Katie Hale

In November, UK writer Katie Hale headed to Brussels for a residency at Passa Porta.

Born in Cumbria, Katie’s poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017. She recently won the Buzzwords Poetry Prize, the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Ware Poetry Prize.During her residency Katie will be working on a collection of poetry that explores the ways in which our identity is shaped by those who come before us. Her debut novel, My Name is Monster, is due from Canongate in June 2019.

Bregje Hofstede (October 2019)

Bregje came to work on her new novel – working title De oplossing van Hadewych (The Hadewych Solution). Dragon Hall was the ideal location, as the Middle Ages feature large in the novel while Norwich is the most complete mediaeval English town to have survived and has more mediaeval churches than any other European city north of the Alps.



Eva Meijer (October 2019)

Eva Meijer is an author, artist, singer, songwriter and philosopher. Her non-fiction study on animal Communication, Animal Languages, is forthcoming in English in 2019. Bird Cottage is her first novel to appear in English, translated by Antoinette Fawcett and published by Pushkin Press. It has been nominated for the BNG and Libris prizes in the Netherlands and is being translated into several languages.


Ekaterina Petrova (October 2019)

In October 2019 we welcomed literary translator and non-fiction writer Ekaterina Petrova from Bulgaria, in partnership with the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation.

Ekaterina Petrova is a literary translator, nonfiction writer, and interpreter. She holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa, where she was awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship and helped edit the Exchanges Journal of Literary Translation.

Currently based in Sofia, she has been a translator-in-residence at Open Letter Books in Rochester, New York, and at the “Pristina has no river” program in Prishtina, Kosovo. Her literary translations and nonfiction writing have appeared in various Bulgarian and English-language publications.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir (September 2019)

Yrsa Sigurdardottir was our first UNESCO writer in residence at the Noirwich festival. Author of the bestselling Thora Gudmundsdottir crime series and several stand-alone thrillers, Yrsa Sigurdardottir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1963 and works as a civil engineer. Her work stands ‘comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world’ according to the Times Literary Supplement and has been translated into more than 30 languages.


Nuril Basri (September 2019)

Nuril Basri was born in a village in West Java, Indonesia, and raised in a staunchly Islamic community. Nuril has worked in a variety of positions—cashier, tutor, accounts manager, waiter, etc.—the combined experience of which has served to enrich his characters and settings. Nuril is the author of six novels. Website.



Agustinus Wibowo (August 2019)

Agustinus Wibowo

Agustinus Wibowo is a prominent travel writer. His work has pioneered a new genre in Indonesian travel literature by allowing readers to experience the writer’s physical and emotional journey as they contemplate their own anxieties. His third book, Zero: When Journey Takes You Home, became a national best-seller and will soon be adapted into a film. His latest work, Us and Them, will be published in 2019.

Agustinus’ residency was sponsored by the National Book Committee of Indonesia.

Jeremy Tiang (July 2019)

Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang is the translator of Li Er, Chan Ho-Kei, Zhang Yueran, Yeng Pway Ngon, Yu Qiuyu and Jackie Chan, among others. He also writes and translates plays. Jeremy’s novel State of Emergency won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. He is the managing editor of Pathlight and a founding member of the translation collective Cedilla & Co. He lives in Brooklyn.

Jeremy’s residency was supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

Anton Hur (July 2019)

Anton Hur was born in Stockholm, Sweden. He has translated Kyung-Sook Shin’s The Court Dancer (Pegasus Books) and Kang Kyeong-ae’s The Underground Village (Honford Star). He is a PEN Translates winner and the recipient of multiple grants from the Literary Translation Institute of Korea, the Korea Arts Council, and the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea. He resides in Seoul.

Anton’s residency was supported by the Literature Translation Institute Korea.

JY Yang (June 2019)

JY is the author of the Tensorate series from Tor.com Publishing, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Lambda Literary awards.

In 2016 JY graduated with an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, for which they were the recipient of a Postgraduate Arts Scholarship from the National Arts Council of Singapore. JY is currently a Writer-In-Residence at the Jalan Besar Writing Residency with SingLit Station.

JY Yang’s residency was supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore.

Yoshitaka Haba (May 2019)

Japanese book curator Yoshitaka Haba is president of the book and library design company BACH in Tokyo. BACH brings together people and books by producing libraries for organisations ranging from public libraries, hospitals and schools to hotels and zoos.

He also curates the library at Japan House in London, lectures at Waseda University and the Aichi University of the Arts, and is Creative Director of the JFL Nara soccer team.

Yoshitaka Haba’s visit was part of an exchange exploring literature museums and literary heritage in Japan and the UK, funded by the GB Sasakawa Foundation.

Kathleen Vereecken (April 2019)

Kathleen Vereecken

Flemish writer Kathleen Vereecken has worked as a freelance journalist for several papers and magazines. She has written historical novels for young adults, books for children, and her first novel for adults was published in 2016. Her work has been translated into French, German and Italian.

While in Norwich, Kathleen was working on a book about Margareta, the sister of renowned 15th century painters Hubert and Jan Van Eyck who painted the Ghent Altarpiece. Margareta was a gifted artist herself and died a virgin.

This residency is part of an exchange with the Passa Porta House of Literature in Belgium, supported by the Flemish Literature Fund. You can listen to Kathleen on the NCW podcast here.

Debby Lukito Goeyardi (March 2019)

Debby Lukito

Debby Lukito Goeyardi is an Indonesian storyteller and children’s writer. During her time in Norwich, she worked with schools, the Puppet Theatre and the Millennium Library, sharing her contemporary versions of traditional folk tales.




Reda Gaudiamo (March 2019)

Reda Gaudiamo

Indonesian writer Reda Gaudiamo is a young adult short story writer who is also a nationally renowned singer, particularly of poems turned into songs. Her adult collection, Tentang Kital/About Us and chapter book for children, The Adventures of Na Willa, are published in the UK by The Emma Press. Reda Gaudiamo visited local schools to celebrate World Book Day and took part in an event for children and families at the Millennium Library.

Debby Lukito Goeyardi and Reda Gaudiamo’s residencies were in partnership with the British Council as part of the Indonesia Market Focus at The London Book Fair 2019.

Jun Sung Hyun (September to November 2018)

Korean children’s writer Jun Sung Hyun made her literary debut in 2009, winning the Chosun Ilbo Spring Literary contest with a children’s short story titled “Yes, That Was You”. In 2011, she won the 15th Changbi Children’s Book Prize for her full-length story The Lost Diary. Jun’s published works include the full-length children’s books The Lost Diary (2011), Siren (2014), and Two Moons (2018), and the children’s short story anthology Sinkhole (2018).


Jeongrye Choi (September to November 2018)

CHOI Jeongyre

Jeongrye Choi was born in a city near Seoul. She studied Korean poetry at Korea University and received her PhD from the same school. She participated in the IWP (International Writing Program) as a poet at University of Iowa in 2006 and stayed one year at University of California in Berkeley as a visiting writer in 2009. Her poems were appeared in Free VerseIowa Review, Text Journal, World Literature Today and various Japanese literary magazines. An English-language collection, ‘Instances’ (which she co-translated with Wayne de Fremery and Brenda Hillman) has been published. She is currently teaching as a lecturer at Korea University. Read about Jeongrye’s stay in Norwich (as translated by Matthu Mandersloot) on the NCW blog.

Both of these residencies were supported by Arts Council Korea (ARKO).

Ivanka Mogilska (October 2018)

Ivanka Mogilska

Ivanka Mogilska is a Bulgarian author with five published books: a short story collection, two novels, and two poetry collections. She loves to invent and tell stories, to travel and to do what she likes. Some of her poems and short stories are available in translation into English, French, and Hungarian. Her latest novel, Sudden Streets (Janet 45, 2013), was published into Hungarian under the titleVáratlan utcák, translated by Peter Krasztev (European Prose Series, L’Harmattan, 2017). More information about Mogilska is available in English here.

This residency was in partnership with the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation and is supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in London and the State Institute for Culture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You can read about Ivanka’s experience of the residency in the features section of this website.

Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh (October 2018)


Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh is an award-winning independent theatre maker born in Iran and now based in Scotland part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s The Scale of Female Ambition. Over Nazli’s career in venues and touring she has developed a strong leadership role in producing diverse theatre in the UK, in particular, looking at themes of the Middle East and the lives of women. She also led on Creative Case NORTH, which is a re-imagining of Arts Council England’s approach to diversity and equality. She is an International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) Fellow. She is currently writing a new version of the ancient Greek tragedy Medea.

Nazli’s residency at the National Centre for Writing was part of Visiting Arts’ programme promoting contemporary Iranian literature and culture in the UK.